The Elusive Clean Plate, Inbox Zero and Mind Like Water

The Elusive Clean Plate, Inbox Zero and Mind Like Water

Many people have one job. Nice! Many people have one job description. Also great. And it's a place I hope to be some day. Until then, I have to pick my way through adapting productivity books to my life. These are some things I think I may have learned while trying to adapt them to a schedule of family, day job, affiliate marketing, freelancing and development.


I know this. Many things I deny at first come back to bite me in the ass. I had a lot of things on my plate and I had put them there. 2000 feeds. 85 social networks. 7 blogs.

I accepted many thing I had read over at Zen Habits but not that I was overloading myself. No, not me. I could keep up with all of these things. Okay, maybe not. But I know this pattern. I just wait for it to come full circle. That is the line where a beginner becomes intermediate.

Saying No

Learn this. See setting fire to your maybe list below. You may be coddling yourself and other people way too much.

Any Project You Are Not Working On Is On The Back Burner

I have a list I call dangling projects. They are projects I started and they are not finished. The key is to find stopping points where the idea is in some way functional. Only functional ideas make it here. It is not a maybe list.

Most projects make it here when I do get a wild idea and take off with it. There may be a problem with that process.

Set Fire to Your Maybe List

There is no maybe in this schedule. Maybe is what you tell yourself when you can't tell yourself no.

Fear and Loathing in Your Inbox

I am not going to lie. I hate the phone. I hate talking on it. The last call on my call history was from three days ago.

I also put off emails so I can come up with just the right response. This is just another "Maybe List" that builds.

Putting off these things will make them monsters. You have two choices. Do them or delete them. Pick one.

Oh, My Good Friend, Pareto

I get delusional. Yes, four hours spent purely on Twitter is worthwhile. Possibly, if not done at random.

I do know ways of making money online to get a specific amount of money for time put in. These are emergency funds to be focused on when times are tough. They are guarantees, but not much more than that. They are not long term strategies because of the ratio, at least until I have time to automate them.

If you can measure a constant ratio between hours put in and income, then you are on a treadmill. Cut some of that time spent on that treadmill to find something where the ratio is accelerating. Consider it speculative time investment.

What does this mean?

Not much. Another blog post that is more a dare to myself to save face rather than rules to live by.

Stephan Miller

Written by

Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

Twitter | Github | LinkedIn